Proposed Greenethorpe to Grenfell Rail Trail – (Central NSW)
Posted on 04/12/20
A group of residents in the Greenethorpe district are calling on surrounding communities to show support for a proposed Rail Trail in the Central West of NSW between Greenethorpe and Grenfell. This is a long disused branch line from Koorawatha, on the Blayney to Demondrille line.
As reported in the Railway Digest December 2020 edition, the initiative asks those who are in support of a rail trail, to hang a “Greene-bike” on their fence. Creator of the “Greene-bike” initiative and owner of the iconic regional attraction Landra Castle, Rod Kershaw, hopes that the community will really get behind the idea.
“We realise that we need to get overwhelming community support for it, so that all the politics involved will be dissolved” he said. “Then everyone would have to come on board because of the support that we have for it”.
The Grenfell-based Weddin Shire Council’s draft Destination Management Plan, identifies the region as ideal for cycling tourism. Closed to passenger services in 1974, and to freight services in 1991, the plan highlights the Greenethorpe to Grenfell corridor as a possible “regional recreational asset”.
Mr Kershaw said it made perfect sense to convert the corridor, with other local government areas seeing success with similar projects. “We went to Tumbarumba in October, and the new rail trail there had opened two weekends before, and all the people at the motel had bikes” he said in an interview published in the Cowra Guardian on 5 October.”
Greenethorpe already had a strong cycling attraction with the “Tour De Greenethorpe” being held from 2010 to 2017. Organiser of the Tour De Greenethorpe, Sam Allen, said with 150 riders attending the event, a rail trail may have kept the race alive. “It would have been fantastic, makes it a lot easier to organise,” he said. “A lot of our problems were having to close roads and marshalling; we don’t have to do that on a rail trail”. Mr. Allen said that while he understood opposition to rail trails in the Hilltops or Cowra council areas, it didn’t make sense for this corridor. “The problem with Young is that the Blayney to Demondrille rail line could realistically open, and I’m surprised it hasn’t,” he said. “Whereas here, there is very little chance it will ever open again. Realistically it’s a corridor owned by the state government, that’s just sitting there doing nothing, and this would be a perfect use for it”
Mr Hodges, who also took part in the trip to the Tumbarumba rail trail, said it had been fantastic to see the number of tourists visiting the community and it could happen here. “I think what we’re finding in the district is, if you build it, they will come,” he said. “I have read that every dollar sent on encouraging cyclists to come results in a six dollar spend in the community”. “A one to six return is incredible”.